Sciatica pain can manifest as a sharp "shock" or as a dull aching or burning sensation. Its severity ranges from mild to debilitating.
Even though sciatica originates from the lower back, patients feel symptoms along their entire leg (or both legs). Pain may occur anywhere the sciatic nerve runs through, from the lower buttock along the back of the leg and down to the sole of the foot. In most cases, sciatica is limited to only one side.
While pain is the major concern when dealing with sciatica, problems with the sciatic nerve can also manifest with other signs and symptoms. Patients with sciatica may feel a variety of other sensations in the leg, including:
These, in turn, may lead to clumsiness and difficulty walking. Bowel and/or urinary changes, such as incontinence, may accompany more serious forms of sciatica.
Sciatica is actually a symptom rather than a distinct disorder in and of itself. As such, addressing any underlying cause of sciatica is important for recovery. Sciatica may be caused by a variety of injuries and conditions, including:
Through diagnostic imaging and other tests, the provider may identify and treat the root cause of your sciatica pain.* Unfortunately, in many cases of sciatica, the cause can't be determined.
Additionally, the following activities may place increased pressure on the sciatic nerve, making your pain feel worse:
Because sciatica pain often goes away on its own, its first-line treatment is typically watchful waiting and rest. However, it's still important to see a physician to rule out other treatable conditions. During this time, your provider may recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and analgesics to help with your pain.
In cases that don't resolve on their own, your provider may prescribe drugs to alleviate pain and inflammation or recommend other forms of intervention. In some serious chronic cases, surgery — such as tumor or cyst removal — may be necessary to relieve sciatica pain.
If you're experiencing sciatica pain, be sure to book a consultation online to find out how our team can help.
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